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Poster: mndean Date: May 26, 2012 11:06am
Forum: feature_films Subject: Re: Black Fury (1935)

I'd agree due to the fact that the opening credit is Warner, and the closing is First National, suggesting the opening credit was redone. That they "changed" the year is something I'd find rather difficult to understand except as an error. However, like Paramount On Parade, it wouldn't matter as to copyright status. Now, if we found the film was released in 1934...

Just a thought :)

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Poster: Mystic550 Date: May 26, 2012 12:49pm
Forum: feature_films Subject: Re: Black Fury (1935)

IMDB lists both companies as the Production company and shows Warner Brothers released it to theaters in 1935

As for the registration it should have mentioned the in notice date, but that could have been an error on the part of the studio when submitting the application. In notice date will still go by what is on the print.

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Poster: mndean Date: May 26, 2012 3:44pm
Forum: feature_films Subject: Re: Black Fury (1935)

As I have learned, never, NEVER take IMDB's release dates as gospel. I have come across enough of them that were months off (including a Warner film I found a while back!), being confirmed by newspaper theater ads at the time the film was released in other cities.

Good grief, IMDB has Allied Artists being the distributor of a film that was actually distributed by FBO, another by Sono Art-World. Nice trick for a company that didn't exist then. Also, it's rather hard to clear off errors on IMDB, even cast errors - I had to fix the character names on the film You'd Be Surprised last year as many were wrong. There's still an error in the listings, too. One of my corrections was rejected, too. An actor is listed on IMDB as uncredited when his name is right on the cast list that opens the film.

IMDB is a good starting point, but it's riddled with enough errors that it shouldn't be used without qualifiers like "probably" and "maybe".

Rant over, and that being said, Black Fury is a film I'd agree with larus about. It shouldn't be here unless we get rock solid information to confirm a 1934 date.

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Poster: larus Date: May 29, 2012 9:02am
Forum: feature_films Subject: Re: Black Fury (1935)

That they "changed" the year is something I'd find rather difficult to understand except as an error.
Yes, this seemed strange to me too but there could be an explanation (hold your breath: once I am done explaining my hypothesis for the date change in the notice, I will also proceed to unlock other mysteries such as the Loch Ness monster, the Bigfoot, the Chupacabra and JFK's assassination).
According to TCM and DVD Savant, the film ran into issues with censors in several states, with the New York board demanding cuts to a murder scene.
As a result, there could be several versions lying around: an initial 1934 cut and a later 1935 cut made to appease censors, with 1935 as the year in the notice. In this case, the censored version would have been published theatrically (with a 1935 notice) while the uncensored version would have been left in a vault but still usable for future reissues. As a result, the modified year in the notice would be a sign that the current DVD-on-demand release is derived from an uncut version.
Of course, this is gratuitous speculation as I am no film historian and I really don't know what the Studios used to do with their original prints when censors demanded changes. And this reasoning is also based on the assumption that First National had wrapped up the editing, scoring and sound effects by the end of 1934, which is also not proven. If the film wasn't ready by the end of 1934, then the date change in the notice becomes impossible to explain, even for someone with as vivid an imagination as mine.

Now, if we found the film was released in 1934...
The July-December 1934 Film Daily compilation suggests that lead actor Paul Muni finished shooting his scenes around the second week of December 1934 (page 1190). I don't know if editing, scoring, censoring, duplicating and distribution could have been completed in the three remaining weeks, especially with the holiday season coming up.
The January-June 1935 Film Daily compilation isn't available on the archive so there are no details on further milestones (or delays) for the film. However, the July-December 1935 Film Daily compilation lists the film as having been reviewed on March 28 1935. That review would have occurred a lot sooner had the film been published in 1934.
Finally, the presence of a P in the registration number (LP5494) indicates that the film had already been published when the registration was made on April 24 1935. Furthermore, copyright law at the time mandated that works be registered no later than three months after publication, giving us a probable initial release frame of January 24th to April 23rd 1935, consistent with the late March review by Film Daily (and the early April New York release date supplied by IMDB).